Kingston Times letters (2/23-3/1)

We don’t need the pipeline

I am writing in response to the thoughtful and comprehensive article (Feb. 2), written by Lynn Woods on the Pilgrim Pipeline. I am deeply concerned about the construction of these pipelines and the effects on our communities and the environment. Climate change is not down the road; evidence of it is all around us in the melting of the polar icecaps, the rising of the ocean levels, and the increase of unstable weather patterns and greenhouse gases. These are due to the increased use of fossil fuels, among other sources.  If we allow the construction of these pipelines, we are accepting the belief of those who deny climate change that we are not responsible for it. Do we have the choice to do nothing? Will we leave our environment in worse shape for our children and grandchildren?

These pipelines are not necessary for New York state. There is sufficient oil for our needs for the present, and research shows that with the development of sustainable alternate energies, such as solar and wind, less oil will be needed in the future. Solar and wind energy will also provide jobs that will be permanent, and will support the communities’ futures.

I urge our legislators to look strategically at the claims of Pilgrim Pipelines, and check the research outlined by the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines —


Sandra Scheuer
West Shokan


Our eyes are open

Last Wednesday, Feb. 15, several of us attended the Kingston Finance Committee Meeting, which was an eye-opening experience into how things do, or do not, get done on a local level. Several of the Kingston city aldermen were clearly uninterested, perhaps even deaf, to the discussion we’ve asked to take place about the implementation of parking kiosks in the municipal lots. There was to be no meaningful nor cooperative discussion about the proposed parking changes. No, their decision had been made. In fact it had been made, or according to Jim Noble, should have been made, back when the budget was approved.

Our position has always been that we want fair and friendly parking and that those who agree with that position were not made aware of the proposed changes before the budget was passed, nor given adequate time to build their position in opposition to the changes. We felt there were voices missing to this very important discussion and worked hard to raise awareness so that all could be heard. Not all of us working for fair and friendly parking are going to be hit the same economically. For some, it is not a burden, but for many it will be. We volunteered our time to create awareness of the issues so that more voices could be heard. We created a website, a petition, flyered vehicles, canvassed communities spoke with business owners, employees and visitors of Kingston and in less than a week, we had over 900 people who’d signed our petition pleading with the City to reconsider the proposed parking changes. At last month’s Common Council meeting there were over two dozen concerned citizens who spoke against the proposed parking changes with not one person present speaking in favor of them.

Despite the pleas of concerned citizens to consider some creative alternatives to the parking problems in Kingston, several members of the Common Council have taken the position that they know best, that they don’t need to listen to the constituents, that what’s done is done and everyone else should be quiet, including their fellow council members who do want to listen, to learn, to communicate and to cooperate.

Alderwomen Nina Dawson, Deborah Brown and Maryann Mills all took the time to read and listen to our presentations. They heard our concerns and reached out to community members most affected by the proposed changes. Put simply, they did their job as public servants representing the interests of the people. These three alderwomen did research after the public raised its concerns. They looked into the details of the budget and whether or not the kiosk plan was actually going to help balance it. They looked into the questions raised about why this may not be in the best interest of the city, why some are going to be hit hard by the changes and whether or not this will actually solve the city’s parking problems. They questioned the argument that the kiosks are needed to collect data, pointing out the most logical way to collect data would be to create a survey, not spend $125,000 to collect license plate information. They spoke with constituents in the area and how they might be affected by the proposed changes, and they learned that a good number of employees from the hospital, Family of Woodstock and the county regularly use municipal lots as they have nowhere else to park. They asked questions about other parking systems that may not cost as much as the kiosks and whether or not this was the best vendor for the parking kiosks.

An outraged Tony Davis did spend time reviewing budgets and numbers to proclaim his disgust at the fact that taxpayer money had been spent to update the parking lots uptown. Mr. Davis seems to have forgotten that the meters and parking violations have been collecting over $400,000 per year since they were implemented and that all of that money has gone into the general fund. So in other words, the taxpayers didn’t have to pay for the lots; the long-overdue upkeep came from revenue generated by the parking system. It’s also important to note that of the $688,989 they are projecting to collect in parking fees and violations, post expenses, a mere $100,000 will go towards the maintenance and $588,989 will go to the general fund.

Of major concern is that clearly none of this had been discussed prior to last week’s finance meeting. Where is the due diligence in the process? We trust representatives to be acting in the best interests of the community, and that means, do your research. Research several options, listen to the voices of the community, and engage in a dialogue to ensure you are making the best decision and for the right reasons. Don’t decide in a vacuum that you know what’s best for others. Don’t put the burden of balancing a budget on those who already pay more than their fair share. Don’t be unwilling to listen to others’ creative ideas. While it’s reassuring that the three alderwomen did hear our voices and were willing to listen and question some of the assumptions being made about the proposed solutions to parking, it’s disheartening to know that we never stood a chance with several others and that no matter how innovative and inclusive our ideas or those of others may be, or how they may improve the overall economy and growth of Kingston, a majority of the aldermen will not hear us.

We haven’t given up yet, we are working with members of the Midtown and Rondout business and arts communities to make sure every voice is heard. Alderwoman Nina Dawson is holding a public meeting on Tuesday evening (Feb. 21) at 6:30 p.m. at the Kingston Library. On the agenda is a discussion of the parking kiosks. We invite all who are interested to come and raise their voice. We will be there. We’ll be in attendance at the Common Council meeting for the third time next month when this issue will once again be presented for a vote. We’ll be involved with the parking work group despite the fact that its hands will likely be tied by a decision to purchase and implement parking kiosks before the group even has a chance to meet. For all of you who want fair and friendly parking, we invite you to join us for the Common Council meeting!

Kingston Free Parking

Sari Botton, Uptown Kingston resident, business owner (Kingston Writers’ Studio located on Fair Street in Uptown Kingston)
Brian Macaluso, Uptown Kingston resident, business owner (Tech Smiths, located on North Front Street in Uptown Kingston)
Maria Philippis, Uptown Kingston resident, employer and property owner (Boitson’s and Kovo Rotisserie, located on North Front Street in Uptown Kingston)
Theresa Widmann, Uptown Kingston property owner and business owner (Anahata Studio, located on North Front Street in Uptown Kingston)
Tarah Gay, employer and business owner (outdated café, located on Wall Street in Uptown Kingston)
Dan Stone, Uptown Kingston resident, employer and property owner (Evolving Media Network, located on Wall Street)
Steve Lieber, Uptown Kingston resident
Cassandra Currie, Uptown Kingston resident
Kevin Paulsen, Uptown Kingston resident
Joe Concra, Uptown Kingston resident, building owner, artist, executive director of O+
Denise Orzo, Uptown Kingston resident, artist, co-founder of O+
Eric Francis Coppolino, longtime business owner and resident of Uptown Kingston, internationally published horoscope writer
Joe Cohen, North Front St business owner and property owner
Ernie Saker, owner of Saker Guitar Works on North Front Street
Julie Griffin, commercial property owner and resident of Clinton Avenue
Sean Griffin, musician, commercial property owner and resident of Clinton Avenue


Climate change equals brain change

I wanted to warn you, who are reading this letter, that our brains are now being exposed to many toxic chemicals. Of course, those of us that are proud and happy that we have kept some of the unhealthy exposures away from our own backyard by sending fracking elsewhere, may believe that we have had a win, as we have — but, the fight continues.  To make my point about brain damage, I want you to notice who we have voted in.

Our main leader has been diagnosed by many psychologists as having a mental illness and one of them has accrued more than 25,000 signatures of mental health professionals on a petition that requests the removal of the president based on his state of mental health.

When you add mental health issues to some of his cabinet choices, such as Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil who was awarded the “Order of Friendship” by Vladimir Putin in 2012; Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart News who called women: “hysterical and  hypercritical” and whose platform was for the alt-right, which stood for  racism, whites only, and anti-Semitism; Betsy DeVos as head of education, who believes in more charter schools for some; Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, which he, himself doesn’t believe in, it seems that we are heading to more toxins and environmental destruction.

So, where do we go from here? It looks like rallies are in our future and as we head towards spring, I can imagine that the crowds will grow. As I see the women’s marches come together with Muslims and black and white men, I believe that we can finally come together to show our numbers. If we stick together, we could get our government back and return to the issues that matter that start with hope and then move on to protecting our environment and our equal rights. See you soon.

Jill Paperno


Call your congressman

Our representative, Congressman John Faso, is a member of the House Budget Committee. In January they passed the reconciliation bill to repeal spending related to aspects of the ACA. The ACA is a law and its future depends upon Congress. It is this committee that took the first steps to dismantle it. The Republicans are far from replacement but still they are bent on repeal. What they don’t want to reveal a basic shift in belief. Obamacare sought to cover as many as they could with a mandated 10 essential benefit requirements. The Republicans shift is not coverage for all but “accessible” insurance through weaker benefit packages, deregulation of insurance companies, unfair tax credits and block grants. The Republican plans favor the young, healthy and rich.  The poorer and sicker will become more vulnerable. This is why there is no unified replacement. How do you serve up this deal to the American sense of fairness? How can you ignore constituent needs and still get re-elected?

Call John Faso: (202) 226-5614.

Mary Anne Malkine
Olive Action Group


Parallel universe?

At the Feb. 21 “networking” breakfast at Miss Monticello Diner, U.S. Rep. John Faso was asked by an attendee when he would consider hosting a town hall so that more of his constituents could interact with him. Faso responded, “I’ve seen around the country, the way the town halls have been conducted — they’re not productive, and no one believes they’re productive.” [See source below.]

It is alarming that our so-called representative regards the civic participation of millions of deeply concerned Americans as “unproductive.” It is troubling that he openly erases his constituents — and millions of other citizens — by lumping us into his fictional “no one.” Does Faso live in a parallel universe?


Town halls produce dialogue. Town halls produce accountability on the part of our legislators. Town halls produce a much-needed piercing of political obfuscation. Town halls are open to citizens of all political persuasions. I wonder if Faso characterized the 2009 town halls attended by Tea Party activists as “unproductive.”

You know what’s unproductive? A “representative” who will only meet with constituents in micro-managed and “pay-to-have-a-say” settings. That’s productive for his wealthy donors, but not so much for the rest of us.

Source, 55 minutes in:

Michelle Sutton

There are 2 comments

  1. Jessie Martin

    I would like to second what was said about the need for Congressman Faso to hold a town hall meeting. We pay his salary and it is his responsibility to make himself available to as many constituents as possible, including those who disagree with him. If he doesn’t have the courage to do that, then politics isn’t for him and he should make way for someone else.

  2. Michael K S

    Congressman Faso, are you watching? Because we, the citizens of New York’s 19th District, are watching you and how you vote.

    Since January 1st, let’s look at your 4 votes related to public health:

    – On January 13th, you voted, predictably, to repeal the budget for the Affordable Care Act.
    – On January 24th, you voted for a permanent ban on federal funding for a women’s right to choose abortion. Hey, Congressman Faso, let’s bring back those wonderful days of back-alley abortions. That sure will make American great again, right?
    – On February 1st, you voted to repeal a rule…a rule meant to protect the health of local communities from toxic dumping in streams by the mining industry. Hey, Congressman Faso, let’s sicken rural communities by letting industry pollute their water.
    – On February 2nd, you voted to repeal a rule that made it more difficult for the mentally disabled to buy guns. Hey Congressman Faso, let’s arm the insane, who could that hurt?

    And you wants to replace ObamaCare with, well, let’s call it DontCare.

    Instead of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, your DontCare would mean block grants to states, with big cuts in services to those most in need.
    Instead of the ACA’s protection from bankruptcy of people with pre-existing conditions, your DontCare would create high risk pools, which historically have failed to provide adequate coverage over and over again, in dozens of states.
    Instead of subsidies for lower and middle income people, your DontCare would ask people to open Health Savings Accounts and hey, if folks can’t afford to put thousands & thousands of bucks in there, too bad for them and their families.

    Less than two months, & what a record: repeal the ACA, ban abortion, allow pollution, gut gun control for out-of-control gun buyers. Plus, awful solutions. Less than two months. And there’s two years to go.

    We are watching, Congressman Faso, and we the people will hold you accountable. Do you really want only one term in office? Then keep voting against public health (among other things), and say good-bye to any hopes of a career in the United States Congress.

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